Page 16

LOCAL NEWS: DEIRDRE TOHILL 9

A FESTIVAL LIKE NO OTHER Carla van Zon left Auckland for Wellington 12 years ago to take on the role of executive director of the New Zealand International Arts Festival then in 2000 she became its artistic director. During her spell in both roles she led the festival into the black for the first time, earning the organisation the Dominion Gold Award 2001 for outstanding contribution to the city’s economy. Now Wellington’s loss is Auckland’s gain because Carla has returned here to live in Herne Bay and is now the artistic director of the Auckland Arts Festival. Carla’s credentials are impressive to say the least. She has an MA in Dance and Arts Administration from George Washington University and a broad range of professional experience with a variety of theatre and dance companies. Previously she was the international manager at the Arts Council and developed a programme to assist New Zealand artists gain international recognition. There was a previous festival in Auckland that ran from the 50s to the 70s till all sorts of disruptions occurred. We lost His Majesty’s Theatre, to mention just one of the historic places that fell to the developers’ hammer. Music venues disappeared, the Mercury Theatre likewise, there was a lot of negative distraction, but in recent years Auckland has regained its mojo, which is why Carla has come back. She now finds significant arts potential here with all the great organisations that have come into their own such as the Auckland Philharmonia, the Auckland Theatre Company, UNITEC, and the Performing Arts School. Wellington’s situation had its advantages and traditionally arts festivals tend to be held in smaller cities, but Carla says that doesn’t mean all festivals have to be the same. The Auckland Festival will be about this city and its people. The programme is wide reaching and will reflect the differing characteristics of our diverse community. It also reaches out to people who aren’t theatre goers but like to give something a go, so there will be a huge specially commissioned work in the Domain by Groupe F who specialise in light and pyrotechnics. They have made two trips here to suss out the people and the environment which is why they have chosen a volcanic theme for their show. With the Auckland War Memorial Museum as the background, this spectacular premier will run for three nights during opening week.

CARLA VAN ZON

GIFTS FROM MOTAT VISITORS MADE FOR A VERY SPECIAL CHRISTMAS NEW ZEALAND’S LARGEST TRANSPORT AND TECHNOLOGY MUSEUM, MOTAT, helped bring Christmas cheer to thousands of underprivileged Kiwis thanks to the generosity of its many visitors during December. MOTAT visitors donated more than 6,000 gifts to families supported by the Auckland City Mission and Barnardos. MOTAT Marketing Manager, Deanna Wharton, explained that from the start of December until Christmas, visitors were invited to purchase and donate a gift from MOTAT’s gift shop instead of paying an admission fee. All donated presents were gifted through the Auckland City Mission and Barnardos to families in need. Gifts donated ranged from board games and books to toy cars and educational activity kits, promising families hours of Christmas fun. Gold coin donations from the popular MOTAT Nights, Christmas Lights events, which saw almost 8,000 people come through MOTAT’s doors to enjoy a spectacular Christmas evening, were also used to purchase gifts for the charities. This contributed to the total value of the gifts donated this year being up by almost 50% on the previous year. This is the seventh year MOTAT has partnered with the community to raise gifts for those less fortunate at Christmas time. PN

Street art will be highlighted by taking Art in the Park, which is a Ponsonby initiative, to people who live outside the area and there will be a big project on Dominion Road where ATC artists will be joined by volunteers and neighbourhood friends in a celebration of the ‘street with a thousand stories’. The finale will be a free family picnic in Potters Park where everybody can sing along with the road’s famous son, Don McGlashan and his band. For Carla this is what the festival is all about - events and theatre that are not available at any other time. Apart from these homegrown events the festival also brings the whole world to Auckland. Be in London watching the National Theatre of Great Britain perform the smash-hit play ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’. Have a heart stopping circus experience in Columbia with Urban’s incredible acrobats. The National Theatre of China’s performance of ‘Rhinoceros in Love’ will take you to Beijing. Shows from Scotland, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, and Australia bring this sensational assemblage of internationals alongside our own most innovative artists and performers to create a truly unique festival. Carla is extremely happy with the partnerships this year, particularly the APO and the ATC. Britten’s War Requiem still has resonance today, more than 50 years after it was composed. The APO will perform the famous work in the Town Hall on 23 March and for Carla this is one of the highlights of the festival. Silo is producing a commissioned piece called ‘Hui’ directed by Rachel House who lives in Ponsonby. Performances by people from all parts of the city are included, which to Carla is really important because we need to understand each other whether it’s a community in South Auckland or one in Beijiing. She quotes words spoken to her by a colleague from the Belgium arts community. ‘Sometimes people talk all the time and the words divide us, but music and dance is universal and people respond to it so it brings us together and we need that in today’s world.’ (DEIRDRE TOHILL) PN

16 PONSONBY NEWS+ February 2013

PUBLISHED FIRST FRIDAY EACH MONTH (except January)

PONSONBY NEWS - February 2013  

PONSONBY - anyone NOT heard of it? We're Auckland's most talked about part of town. This eMag will hit Ponsonby Road, this coming Friday, 1...

PONSONBY NEWS - February 2013  

PONSONBY - anyone NOT heard of it? We're Auckland's most talked about part of town. This eMag will hit Ponsonby Road, this coming Friday, 1...